Maybe Someday (Rewrite)
Erin grunted as the giant spider tackled her to the ground. The wind was knocked out of her as she crashed into the stone floor. Her greatsword pushed at the twitching jaws, trying to keep the pinchers away from her. Biting back a curse that would have made a sailor (definitely not Isabela) blush, the redheaded warrior twisted to the left in a desperate attempt to use momentum against the oversized creepy-crawly and toss it aside.
Instead it caused her to lose her grip on her greatsword, one of the arachnids' many legs knocking it aside as it launched at her again. Blocking the poisonous fangs with her bracer, Hawke let out a cry of pain when it tried to bit through the plate metal. It didn't get through but it hurt like hell.
Out of nowhere came a blue blur of motion, charging at the creature attempting to kill her. She barely had time to comprehend that Fenris was there before he had thrown the beast off of her, literally cutting it in half midair.
Eyes wide, Erin raised up on her elbows, stunned at the show of strength and accuracy; after all she wasn't even certain if she could slice a spider in half in one blow normally, nevermind if it was flying through the air. Another thought occurred to her a second later; he had been across the damned room when she fell. How in Thedas had he managed to get to her that quickly?
Turning sharply like a hero from one of Varric's ridiculous stories, Fenris' tattoos began to dim, assured that the danger had passed. Despite the situation, Erin felt heat spread through her at the sight of him. Poetic license aside, the elf looked amazing even if he was spattered in the blood of a dozen monstrously large spiders.
Reality came back to her when Fenris stilled, his mossy green eyes landing on her. His emotions were quickly tucked away behind a stoic mask when he saw that she was watching him.
Erin gave him a half smile, neither pretending she hadn't been staring nor acknowledging it. She shifted in an awkward attempt to get up, cursing the immobility of plate armor not for the first time. Maybe she should put some of the funds for the Deep Road aside for a more maneuverable armor like chainmail.
A hand appeared causing her to blink, startled, and nearly loose what little balance she had started to regain. For a moment Erin wondered if she somehow entered the Fade and this was all a very odd dream. Fenris, of all the things she had learned about this elf, hated being touched and yet here he was offering to help her up.
Accepting the offer before he thought better of it, she grasped his forearm, amazed once again at his strength as he easily hauled her to her feet. True she wasn't a particularly large or muscular fighter but to pull her up one handed was impressive.
Taking a step forward to offset the momentum, she drew in an almost audible breath at the proximity she was to Fenris. Her heart raced in her chest. "Thanks." Erin said quietly, unintentionally lingering. Her blue eyes flickered to the dead spider and then back to him. "And thanks."
Fenris seemed taken aback, so much so that he didn't even notice that he had not let go of her hand nor the fact that they were close enough that she could feel his breath against her neck. "It was nothing." His deep brogue washed over her, a shiver of pleasure fighting to run down her spine.
"I could take offense to that." She teased. Erin had to admit that she loved watching the way his brow furrowed as Fenris attempted to work through what she meant. "It was my life you just saved."
His eyes widened when it occurred to him that he had just dismissed the rescue as inconsequential. Objections and apologies fleeted across his face but she chuckled, smiling to let him know she wasn't actually insulted; if anything she was insanely grateful, death by giant arachnid was not how she wanted to go down.
"I've never seen anyone move that fast before." She complimented, swearing she saw the tips of his ears go pink with the praise. "You have got to teach me how you do that."
He peered up at her through the fringe of his shock-white hair. Before he had the chance to say anything a voice interrupted them.
"Are you both all right?"
Fenris stiffened, abruptly realizing he was still holding on her. Almost recoiling, the elf took a step back, hand fallen at his side, placing several paces of distance between the two of them.
Erin nearly sighed in disappointment, wishing that Sebastian had left them alone a little longer, if only to prolong one of the first and likely only times Fenris would ever touch her.
"That was amazing, Fenris." The Chantry Brother admired. "You must have been thirty feet away when Hawke was knocked down."
Clearly uncomfortable with the attention he was receiving, the elf shifted nervously, looking down and then away. "We should move on."
Sebastian hesitated, looking put out before nodding. "Yes, of course. That is wise."
"Lead the way." Erin offered waving her had toward the tunnel.
Disbelief at why was written on Fenris' face but he didn't voice his confusion.
Giving the men a sassy grin, she winked. "If there are any more giant spiders they'll attack you first and us girls can run to safety."
Sebastian laughed. "Are you so certain they won't come from behind again?"
"Even if they did, I'm sure they'll go after you first." Erin stated as if it was a known fact that the spiders were actually attracted to the archer. "After all they like shiny things and that armor is just so darned reflective that they won't be able to resist."
The Brother looked decidedly less amused but walked beside Fenris as the elf took point.
Smiling to herself feeling clever, Erin hung back a little, flexing her hand slightly as though she could still feel Fenris' touch. The faintest hint of a blush colored her cheeks. While she had known the elf the better part of two months even she would admit her attraction to him was nearly instantaneous. But, like everything else with him, it was complicated.
Falling in step beside her sister, Erin wondered how she had managed to collect such an eclectic group of people as allies, all of whom were perfectly fine with keeping her sister a secret. The newly appointed Captain of the Guard, a Rivaini pirate, the dwarf who decided she was the subject of his next saga, a Chantry Brother, and an escaped slave who had declared more than once his disdain for magic; all of them agreed to hide Hawke's apostate sister and in turn the other two mages who somehow fell under Erin's protection.
Of all of them, Fenris surprised her the most. His past rightfully colored his opinion on mages and magic. The fact he was able to look beyond that and give Bethany a chance was nothing short of a miracle.
How he had managed to keep from killing Merrill and Anders the moment he met them, however, Erin didn't know. Both were exceedingly foolish in their own rights. In learning what it would mean to protect her family, Erin had discovered in horrific detail the sorts of things a mage could do if they so chose, nevermind the damage an abomination could do. Even so, through a strained promise, one to Varric and one to Bethany, Erin did not kill or turn in either apostate and instead ended up protecting them.
If father could only see her now; she sighed; his little warrior bird defending mages and accidentally making a name for herself in a city that seemed to have a never ending barrage of stupid. A traitorous thought passed through her, wondering what her father would have thought of Fenris. Would he understand Erin's attraction to the elf or would he have scolded her for growing close to Fenris, the potential danger for Bethany far too high to risk?
Unconsciously Erin flexed her hand again, tingling with the memory of Fenris' touch and how it had made her feel.
"He touched you." The almost singing voice came from Erin's left, her sister grinning at her as though she suspected Erin had been thinking of the elf.
Erin glanced at her before staring straight ahead, dropping her hand to her side abruptly. Her cheeks flushed when she realized she was unfortunately staring in the direction of a particular warrior that never seemed to leave her thoughts alone.
"I've never seen him touch anyone, sister." Bethany teased, blue eyes sparkling with hidden suggestion.
"He was helping me up." Erin whispered, praying that Fenris could not hear them.
"Oh sure." Bethany linked her arm through Erin's, smiling. "That's why you two didn't let go until Sebastian interrupted."
Sighing, Erin tried to stop from grinning. "I'm going to kill him for that by the way, hope you don't like him too much." She was more than pleased when Bethany turned red. "Don't read too much into it, Beth. He was just doing the job we pay him for." Hawke was a little more than annoyed at the flicker of hurt and disappointment that burned in her chest at that admission. Part of her still wanted to imagine differently.
"That's why he practically teleported across the room to save you from that giant spider; money?" The raven-haired mage said skeptically.
"Like any hireling he wanted to make sure the person who pays him survived." Erin excused though secretly (or maybe not so secretly) she wished he did it for a completely different reason.
"He cleaved the spider in half."
"He's very thorough."
Bethany's sharp eyes narrowed at her sister. "The last time someone touched him, Fenris was seconds away from ripping their heart out."
Erin opened her mouth to try to come up with an excuse but then closed it, lacking any sort of honest defense. Fenris had almost attacked Isabela when the pirate had teasingly placed a hand on his arm. Even the Rivaini had been unnerved by how quickly Fenris had shoved her away from him, markings aglow and hand clawed, ready to plunge into her chest.
It had taken the elf less than a second to realize what he had done, mortification overwhelming him. He had fled, mumbling an apology and how he didn't like to be touched. It had taken Erin the better part of the day to find him and convince him that no one was angry with his action and that they all would respect his personal space.
Triumph shone on Bethany's face at her nonresponse. "You like him."
Erin gripped her sister's arm tighter, not enough to hurt but enough to startle the mage. Her blue eyes shot to the men, horrified at the possibility they heard. "Keep it down!" she hissed.
Undeterred Bethany let out a laugh. Sebastian idly glanced back, a smile on his lips but then, to the redheaded warrior's relief, looked forward again.
Her sister only grinned, seemingly oblivious to Erin's panic. "Just admit it, sister."
"Bethany, for the love of the Maker, please be quiet." Erin begged.
"Only if you admit it."
Closing her eyes, she shook her head. "Fine, I admit it."
"You like the broody elf." she clarified unnecessarily.
Erin arched her eyebrow, a sense of vindictiveness washing over her. "And you have a crush on the exiled Prince."
Her sister froze for a second, wide-eyed, her round cheeks flushing with embarrassment.
Sighing, Erin looked away. "Seems we both have an attraction to impossible options, must run in our family or something."
For a moment Bethany was silent, steadily walking in pace with Erin. "Do you really think it's impossible?" her voice was almost timid when she spoke again.
Making a face, Erin frowned at her sister. "He's a Chantry Brother, Beth. Not a very good one, I'll give you that," she conceded. "But he's hardly going to be swept away with such worldly emotions like love." She didn't believe in sugar coating the truth, not even for her sister; better Bethany realizes now who she set her sights on rather than later. "From what I've learned he was very wild before, Beth. He's experienced it all and turned his back on it."
Bethany shook her head. "Not," her eyes flickered to Sebastian and then back. "Not mine." She whispered and nodded toward the elf. "Yours."
Unintentionally Erin stopped, her heart giving a strange lurch. Brushing the emotion away like she always did, Erin started walking again.
Her dark-haired sister hurried to stay in step with her. "Do you really believe it's impossible?"
"I am the daughter of a mage, Beth; magic is quite literally in my blood. I rescue mages from oppression, let a possessed one live, allow a blood mage not only in my company but to exist." Erin listed off. Sensing her sister on the verge of objecting, the warrior continued. "I'm a Ferelden refuge who can drink a dwarf under the table and be proud of it. I will never win any beauty contests. My only discernable skill is as a mercenary. I don't hide behind white lies to make the truth easier." Giving her head a firm shake, Erin finished. "No one wants that in a relationship."
"That's not true." insisted Bethany.
"Name one thing that I said that wasn't true." Erin challenged.
Bethany hesitated, obviously trying to think of something but failing. "You're beautiful." Was the rather lame response she came up with.
Erin snorted. "Please. You and I both know you got the looks in this family. I look like a twig with blood for hair." She mocked her own appearance.
Unlike Bethany who inherited their mother's curves and soft bouncing black curls, Erin was petite and sinewy, almost waiflike in the right light. And, even though she kept her deep red hair long, she hated the lifeless strands. While Bethany's blue eyes were alluring, Erin's always unnerved people, looking almost unnaturally bright against the pallor of her skin.
No, the warrior knew that no one could ever honestly claim she was beautiful.
"He stays for some reason, sister." Bethany said quietly, still trying to convince Erin. "How are you so sure it's not for you?"
"The only reason Fenris stays is because I hate slavers as much as he does and swore to help him kill that blight-damned magister when the time came." Erin swore firmly. "And because I pay him." She added as an afterthought.
Dropping her eyes to the ground, Erin studied the cracked stone as they walked. "I'm not you Beth. I don't have a sweet disposition and a smile that can outshine the sun. I know who I am." She met her sister's eyes. "And whether I like it or not, the truth is that at the end of the day, the only thing people want me for is my blade."
"That's not true." Bethany repeated.
Erin sighed. "Beth, just because you don't want to admit that it's true doesn't make it any less the case."
"You go over and visit him nearly every day, what do you do?" Bethany looked as though she thought she had grabbed onto something that would make her right.
"Spar, mostly." Erin hated the way her sister's shoulders dropped in disappointment as though Bethany had been imaging lurid things the two warriors got up to. "Sometimes we talk over wine." Hope sparked in Bethany's eyes again only to be dashed. "We compare fighting styles, technics that we've picked up, he's been trying to teach me this move he does where he whips his blade in an arch and kills the enemies around him, I've almost got it down..." Seeing the despondent look on her sister's face, Erin sighed, trying to sound upbeat. "A few times we even had a game of Wicked Grace." She shrugged realizing it wasn't much better in the mage's mind. "Look, Beth, I'm not the type of girl any man would want. I know that."
Biting her lip, Erin desperately tried to kill the ache in her chest. Emotions never did anyone any good; no matter how much you feel it won't make others feel the same.
Bethany sighed. "There could be others, Erin. Do you really believe that no one would ever like you like that?"
A bitter smile was on the warrior's lips. "No one ever has."
"That doesn't mean no one ever will."
Unwillingly, Erin glanced at the elf, hating how her heart sped up at the sight of him and the tingling sensation that went through her.
"He could, Erin." Bethany whispered following her gaze. "Why do you think it's so doomed? Sure he's a little," She grinned. "Prickly," Erin glared at her sister. "But why don't you just talk to him? He's flirted with you before. Encourage it, see if he woos you."
"Woos me?" Erin repeated in disbelief. "I don't want to be wooed, Bethany."
"You usually brazen head first into everything, sister." Bethany retorted, frustration showing. "I don't understand why you don't try to talk with him, at least that way you would know for sure. Why are you sitting around doing nothing?"
"You know what I mean."
Erin frowned. "You've been spending far too much time with Isabela and Varric."
Bethany narrowed her eyes. "Don't change the subject."
Letting out a breath of air, Erin studied the back of the elf. "I can't." Hawke insisted. "It's not that simple. If it was you'd have talked to Sebastian by now."
The warrior raised her eyebrow earning a glare from Bethany.
"I mean why can't you talk with him? You see him all the time. Save sparring one day and talk about something else. I've never seen you look at someone the way you look at him, isn't it worth trying?"
"Not if it makes him run away."
Bethany blinked. "What?"
Erin shifted, looking at Fenris' back, a multitude of thoughts in her head, trying to determine what to share. "He's had a horrible life, Bethany. He's never had anyone do things for him without wanting something in return; how do you think he'd react knowing what I feel?"
"Ravish you in a closet?"
She arched her brow at Bethany, making a mental note to yell at Isabela for corrupting her younger sister. "He'd automatically assume that I'm requesting reciprocation as some sort of sick repayment for what we've done, like everyone else in his life." Hawke corrected. "Fenris would think I'm simply using him for what I want and then going to toss him aside. He'd leave Kirkwall faster than you could blink. He'd be alone and if Danarius came…" Erin trailed off, clenching her hands into fists at her side.
She had seen the fear in Fenris' eyes when he told her about the strength of the magister that hunted him. As much as it had pained him to admit, Fenris knew if he faced the man alone, he would fail; and failure meant something much worse than death.
"I can't do that." Erin swore with conviction. "Not if that outcome is even a remote possibility."
Bethany's eyes shown with emotion as though her heart was breaking for her sister. "Even if it means you'll never have anything more than his friendship?"
The red-haired woman frowned. "I value his friendship, Beth." At the look on Bethany's face, she ducked her head. "I don't want to lose that just because I'm getting all squishy inside. I'll deal with it."
"You mean you'll ignore it like you always do." Bethany said quietly.
"Just let it lie, Bethany, please." She implored. "If he wants anything more he'll take the lead, I'm not going to do pressure him. I won't do that to him."
"You don't really think he'll ever make a move, do you?" Bethany demanded skeptically.
Pressing her lips together tightly, Erin didn't respond.
"You're counting on the fact you'll never have to confront this." The mage sounded appalled and sad at the same time.
Stubbornly Erin stayed silent.
"What if your feelings grow deeper, become more than simple fancy?" she challenged.
Glancing sideways at her sister, Erin shrugged. "Then they do." She conceded. "It's not as though none of this occurred to me. He's my friend, Bethany, and he's not the type to allow many close. I respect him too much as a man and a warrior to let my emotions jeopardize that relationship between us."
Erin grabbed her sister by the forearm and gave the mage a gentle but firm squeeze, both their steps stalling. "Enough." she half growled, trying desperately to bury the emotion her sister was stirring. "Why are you questioning this so much? What point do you have in running this conversation in circles?"
Bethany looked at her with soulful blue eyes, the type of gaze that Erin had seen drive men to distraction. "I know how much you've sacrificed to keep me safe, sister."
Flinching she released her grip on Bethany, starting to walk forward again.
"Is it so wrong to wish for you to have someone?"
"I have you and I have mother. What more could I want?" Erin tried to be glib.
Bethany gave a pointed look at the elf's backside.
Glancing away, Erin tried to sort through her thoughts in a way her sister might actually understand. "You know as well as I that wanting and wishing for something rarely makes it happen; else you would have been magicless like Carver and me." She hated seeing the pain flicker across Bethany's face. Laying a gentle hand on her sister's bicep, she continued. "I've accepted my fate, Beth. What more do you want me to say?"
"I want you to agree that you're worth fighting for the way you fight for me." Bethany snapped a little loudly.
Erin dug her nails into her sister's arm. "Bethany, if you don't keep your voice down I'm going to quote your journal of what your dream man would be like." She threatened, knowing the striking similarity of Bethany's imaginary prince and the true prince in front of them were eerily similar.
This time Bethany had the decency to blush. "Sorry." She mumbled, eying the two men ahead of them. "But I mean it, sister. I want you to believe that you're worth fighting for the way you fight for me."
"I don't want someone to fight for me." Erin objected earning her a surprised look. "I want someone to fight beside me."
"But you don't believe that someone exists?"
"When you find someone who doesn't care that I'm a loud-mouth woman who speaks her mind, loves to fight, and will never be the stay at home type then I promise you I won't let them go." Erin sidestepped the question.
"You mean the way Fenris does?"
Erin felt her heart twist in her chest.
Bethany clasped her hand into Erin's and smiled. "You two work well together. Are you really so afraid of his reaction that you won't take a chance?"
"Dreaming gets you nowhere, Beth." There was no bitterness in Hawke's words, only pragmatism.
"It got mom and dad together."
Despite herself, Erin flinched. Their parents' romance was a story Bethany had loved hearing when she was young; always eager to listen to how the mage fell in love with a noble's daughter and how their love, though forbidden, burned strong enough to make them sacrifice everything to be together.
"This isn't some epic love story, Beth. This is me." Erin finally said. "Girls like me don't get the guy at the end. I'm an adventure story, not a love story."
"You really believe that don't you?" Bethany whispered.
Giving a light shrug, Erin nodded. "Whatever I feel," she said the word with distaste. "Doesn't matter." Erin shook her head again. "Fenris and I are friends and whether I like it or not that's all we're ever going to be unless he wishes more. I won't pressure him. Not for me, what I feel isn't worth losing him."
Ahead Fenris signaled for them to stop, his hand reaching for his greatsword.
Turning to her sister sharply, Erin gave her a semi-menacing look. "Don't say anything, Beth. If you even so much as hint at it, I will make your life more miserable than when you set my hair on fire." she hissed going for her weapon.
Bethany's face paled at the threat.
"Problem?" Erin asked coming forward.
Fenris' penetrating gaze was on her a moment before nodding toward the bend in the tunnel passageway. "Traps ahead, spread across the path."
Sebastian was cautiously moving forward, studying the area. "I do hate traps." he murmured springing one and then moving onto another. "Bethany, if I may request your assistance, this trap appears to have a double trigger."
"What do I know of traps?" Bethany asked but came to his aid anyway, walking up beside him and kneeling down.
Erin watched her sister's cheeks redden as Sebastian guided her hand to the right spot and instructed her to freeze the mechanism so he could finish disarming the rest. It was almost cute the way her sister was acting when the ex-Prince touched her. Maybe Erin had been too quick to judge Sebastian. He had already disobeyed his vows once when he hired Hawke to avenge him family, maybe he might do it again if the way he was looking at Bethany was any indication of his feelings.
Maker Erin hoped she hadn't blushed that badly when Fenris touched her. Blowing a strand of blood-red hair from her eye, Erin shifted, realizing Fenris was staring at her. "What?" A quick cursory glance around insured there were no enemies.
"Varric would object to your generalization of story genres. Even adventures need a little romance." Fenris stated emotionlessly.
Her heart skipped a beat and blood flooded her cheeks. Instantly her mind connected the dots and her eyes darted around the passage. She cursed silently at her carelessness (or Bethany's if she wanted to be accurate.) The smooth stone walls and floors of dwarven creation had nothing to mute sound, with the ceiling being made of the same rock, the entire cave became an excellent sound conductor.
Both of them heard the entire conversation and just let two girls continue.
So many thoughts raced through her mind, excuses and apologizes manufacturing themselves at a rapid pace. "Fenris…"
How in Thedas could she explain this? Could she even repair the damage before he fled? Words died on her lips when she looked at him, lost in the intensity of his green eyes.
He was looking at her, a rare half-smile gracing his face. It made her heartbeat quicken, heat scorching through her. He had only smiled like that seven times in the last two months. It had been that look, the amazing way even a half-smile could transform his features by softening the harsh lines of his face, replacing the bitterness with something that melted her heart, that had made Erin attracted to him in the first place.
"I enjoy your visits, Hawke." He admitted in the deep brogue that gave her goosebumps.
This wasn't happening, Erin was sure it couldn't be happening. She had hit her head. That had to be it, she hit her head and this was the Fade playing tricks on her. Things like this never happened to her; she was only imagining it. She had fallen asleep drunk and stupid, listening to one of Varric's bullshit stories. That was the only explanation, right?
"Perhaps on your next visit we can do something other than speak about fighting." he offered. "I am sure you have opinions on a variety of subjects beyond swordplay."
It took Erin forever to remember how to work her vocal cords. "I," she cleared her throat and started again. "It'd be interesting."
Eight. Eight half-smiles now.
Her wit began to take over. "Do you know any subjects that aren't liable to get us into an argument? Mages and Templars are out; perhaps we should start with the weather and go from there?"
A full smile this time; that smile had only happened twice since she had known him. That smile could send her heart racing like she had just run from Lothering to Redcliffe without stopping.
"Very well," he agreed. "How does one talk about weather?"
Erin glanced at the ceiling. "Well normally it's not done underground…"
"So commenting on the firmness of the stone above our head in an ancient dwarven passage is not the correct way to converse about the weather." She could have sworn he was teasing her.
Chuckling, Erin looked back at him, elated to see that the smile that turned her knees to jelly was still on his lips. "While amusing, I do not believe it has anything to do with the weather other than keeping it out."
Fenris mused, his mossy green eyes sparkling at her. "Perhaps I need more practice in alternate conversation topics."
"The way is clear," Sebastian called from the other end of the hall.
Hawke almost didn't hear him at first. The moment between the two warriors faded but instead of leaving Erin disappointed it had ended never to come again, it left her almost hopeful, a rather new feeling for her when it came to much of anything.
Realizing they were still standing there, she jerkily motioned to the now trap-free path. "We should…" she said stupidly.
"I remain at your side." he said moving in step beside her.
As the two of them started forward in comfortable silence, Erin's mind raced. Maybe, just maybe there was a chance…